The Inlander Staff & r & & r & MAGGIE'S SOUTH HILL GRILL & r & & r & The interior at Maggie's is bright and sunny, especially in the morning, with rough-hewn sunflower-yellow walls and stained-glass upper windows. Brunch is a weekend treat. The crab benedict ($11) is a highlight -- two poached eggs perched on top of crab cakes, with the requisite English muffin underneath and a light topping of hollandaise. Each crab cake is generous and distinctly crabby, with a light crunchy crust yet moist and savory inside with colorful flecks of minced celery, peppers and onions. The pumpkin pancakes ($5.75), a stack of four fluffy cakes at least six inches across, entice with the aroma of pumpkin pie; they were thick but light, with subtle flavors of pumpkin and spice. The menu offers standard breakfast fare as well, and for lighter appetites, there's the yogurt-granola parfait, layered with fruit in a pint glass ($4.50), along with kids' breakfast choices for only $4. Maggie's is the kind of place where you don't have to dress up to go out and get a weekend breakfast that's comfortable and familiar but just different enough to be special. 2808 E. 29th Ave., 536-4745 (AC)
The ambiance at Villaggio (Italian for village) is upscale: a dozen dark wood tables, folded white cloth napkins, little red table candles, new age/fusion jazz background music. Pizzas from the brick wood-fired oven are the tasty highlight, like the Vegetariano ($15) -- a 12-inch, irregularly shaped platform for a thin layer of tomato sauce and a gardeners' feast of caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke, and millimeter-thin slices of zucchini. The caramelized onions also add a layer of texture and flavor to the Insalata Villaggio ($10), with arugula, pear slivers, walnuts, gorgonzola and fig balsamic vinaigrette. The wonderfully rich tiramisu ($7), with layers of creamy filling, coffee-saturated cake and melted chocolate, was a lovely ending to a very nice meal. A fully stocked bar serves wine, martinis and other mixed drinks. 2013 E. 29th Ave., 532-0327 (DN)
THE SAFARI ROOM
The faux-stone walls and Palladian windows of the Davenport Tower evoke a sense of utilitarian formality -- and the safari theme offers an understated, whimsical counterpoint. The Safari Room claims one of the few smokers in our region, with a choice of baby back ribs or pulled pork, either as an entr & eacute;e or an appetizer. We tried the crispy flatbread, roasted in the Safari Room's brick oven, topped with peppery arugula, thinly sliced pears, a sprinkling of mild bleu cheese and drizzled with honey ($8). My halibut ($20) entr & eacute;e came roasted and served with fresh green beans, fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes -- the vibrantly colored vegetables were the stars of the plate. The $2 desserts are a lot of fun; you can mix and match the "miniature servings." The German chocolate cake was a darker chocolate than usual, and the frosting here is full of nuts and coconut. Our favorite was the simple flan, creamy and cool, with an elaborate caramelized sugar decoration. 111 S. Post St., 789-6800 (LM)
CAF & Eacute; MARRON
The sunny tangerine-hued north wall marks this casual-yet-upscale neighborhood place as a daily source for breakfasts (served morning thru midday) that you'd expect to find at an indulgent weekend brunch. My avocado sandwich ($9), with two poached eggs shimmying atop slices of avocado, bacon and tomato, all on Bouzies toast, gave me vegetables along with salty earthiness. Executive Chef Dan Bowers has redone the lunch and dinner items, including some exquisite specials, but breakfast is as delightful as it's always been. 144 S. Cannon St., 456-8660 (AC)
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.